Hearts coach blames the weather
Accra, March 20, GNA - Head coach of Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, Francis Oti Akenten has said the high altitude in Ethiopia attributed to the 4-0 humiliating defeat suffered at the hands of St George by Hearts over the weekend in their CAF Champions League competition.
"We could not cope with the high altitude, which I was told was 2,500 above sea level and the three days of acclimatization was not of any help to us".
Speaking to the GNA Sports on the teams arrival in Accra, coach Oti Akenten said some of the players nearly collapsed after the game because of the negative toll the weather had on them, adding that nobody could be held up for any blame.
"Even if we had gone there earlier with the world best players like Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o, the story would have been no better" Coach Akenten lamented.
He however conceded that even though some of the goals were as a result of unpardonable mistakes on the part of the players they simply had no energy to correct them in the game because of the difficulty in briefing.
"It was so bad that at a point my boys could not even move their legs let alone tackle or cover up for their colleagues when there was the need to do so".
The coach did not only find solace in the hostile weather condition, but added that the referee also played a significant role in the team's defeat.
Coach Oti-Akenten said his boys were demoralized by the dubious penalty awarded earlier to the home team by the referee because until the penalty they were performing satisfactorily.
He denied that the result could have been as a result of technical bankruptcy, saying that the team had trained adequately but were denied a good result by a natural occurrence.
The coach also denied the assertion that his side was an inexperienced one and reiterated "even world class players cannot survive under such difficult weather conditions".
Coach Oti-Akenten said that the team will plunge immediately into training on Tuesday to begin earnest preparations for the resumption of the Top Four Competition this Sunday and the second leg of the Championship encounter.
He said "a win against King Faisal at Obuasi in the Top Four will revive our spirits ahead of the second leg so we have to take it serious".
Though a qualification to the next stage looks impossible, the coach was of the view that the uncertainties in the game of football could make the difference.
"We can also score four or more if we put our acts together, I believe we have the chance to make, it's just a matter of psyching up the boys to go in for the kill in the second leg".
The coach however noted that the East Africans are a good side and could be dangerous in the second leg too.
Hearts risk crushing out of the competition in an unprecedented sixth time since they annexed the trophy in 2000 and the Super Cup in 2001 in a historic fashion.